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Hockey Olympian honors curling gold medal team

Team USA, which includes Joe Polo, John Landsteiner, Matt Hamilton, Tyler George, and John Shuster, celebrate winning the gold medal in the curling event during the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Winter Games at Gangneung Curling Centre on Saturday, Feb. 24. (James Lang / USA TODAY Sports)

ST. PAUL — A former Olympic hockey player led the Minnesota Senate Monday, Feb. 27, in honoring the U.S. gold medal curling team.

State Sen. David Tomassoni, D-Chisholm, and his colleagues gave Team Shuster a standing ovation.

John Shuster, the skip of the team, learned how to curl a half block from Tomassoni's home, and Shuster's father and Tomassoni graduated together from Chisholm high school.

"This is really a special gold medal, not only for Chisholm, but for the United States and myself," said Tomassoni, a player on Italy's 1984 Olympic hockey team. "So special, I tried to send my first ever tweet wishing them good luck."

Once Team Shuster won, Tomassoni tried his second tweet, one of congratulations. The senator said he has no idea if the team saw either tweet.

Tomassoni recalled that after previous Olympic games disappointments, Team Shuster "became known as team reject."

After a slow start, it looked like the 2018 Olympics would be the same, the senator said. "John Schuster woke up on Feb. 19 and looked at himself in the mirror and said, 'It is time for me to play like I did getting into the Olympics.'"

After that, Team Shuster began a winning effort that ended with the gold medal.

The team, which won the first U.S. gold curling medal, features northeastern Minnesotans and northwestern Wisconsinites.

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.